|Sept. 8, 2016, Poetry Foundation|
The third to the last time I saw Ed McElroy alive was in early September, when he showed up at the Poetry Foundation for my book launch. That's what Ed did: he showed up. Old-school, no excuses. While typical friends are always there when they need you, Ed was always there, in a suit and tie, driving a black Cadillac. Though he wasn't always happy about it. "I thought there would be food at this," he said after the reading, his subtle hint that maybe I should invite him to the foundation's private dinner, so I did. He parked in a crosswalk on Clark Street, which puzzled my New York publishing pals — why was the car still there 90 minutes later? I pointed out the ceremonial police baton with its red tassel placed conspicuously on the dashboard. Welcome to Chicago.
Ed was famous, once, in the 1950s and 1960s, on WJJD. He announced wrestling, boxing, bicycle races. He hung out with Ted Williams. When married Rita in 1955, Richard J. Daley attended the wedding. Daley once sent Ed to the airport to pick up a young senator from Massachusetts. John F. Kennedy and Ed had dinner on Rush Street.
"Ed knew Martin Luther King," I told our table mates. "King was very good to me," agreed Ed.
In that light, maybe dinner was for me.
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|Rita and Ed McElroy ins his home office.|